I have done the state some service, and they know’t.

In Wednesday’s edition The Guardian, Madeleine Bunting writes that she considers   Gordon Brown a politician for a bygone age .

Unlike Blair, Brown will not now slip off to lucrative jobs with financial institutions. It is a measure of the man that we believe his comments that he would work in the charitable sector if he does, indeed, leave politics. His commitment to public service has never been narcissistic, but driven by his intense Presbyterian sense of duty. His has been an old-fashioned faith much misunderstood and much despised in an age of narcissism.

This is all for the history books now, but it is important that Labour understands its own history because that is part of how it will explain its future. A media have hounded a principled, if flawed, public servant. Now he’s gone perhaps they can begin to consider whether any human being can match up to their grossly inflated expectations.

Indeed, there is much in what Bunting  says. I may be wrong, but I suspect that part that when history comes to judge him, it will be more willing to forgive him his mistakes than we are at the moment. Many of the things he was mistaken about – that banking would sensibly regulate itself, for instance – we were mistaken, to a greater of lesser degree, too. That’s to some extent is why we are unforgiving.


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